tv Tavis Smiley WHUT May 3, 2011 8:30am-9:00am EDT
tavis: good evening from up los angeles. the death of osama bin laden closes one chapter and america's struggle with al qaeda. it poses a number of questions about our relationship with pakistan on -- to go on going wars, and the unrest sweeping the middle east. later on, analysis from the national security correspondent for "the nation." first, the co-chair of the president's deficit reduction commission alan simpson. his take on the budget battle and the bipartisan plan put forth by his commission. former wyoming senator alan simpson and jeremy skyhill
from "the nation." >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> m >> to everyone making a difference -- >> thank you. >> you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer, nationwide insurance is proud to join tavis in working and move obstacles tond move oct economic empowerment, one conversation at a time. >> nationwide is on your side >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. reank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- tavis: alan simpson served as co-chair of the president's bipartisan national commission on fiscal responsibility and
reform following on long and distinguished career in the senate for wyoming. he is the former chairman of the veterans affairs committee. >> it is a beautiful day in wyoming. blue sky, 65 degrees. >> let me start with the news of the day. i want to get to the deficit reduction ideas in a moment. trying to figure out how we move forward, whether we raise the debt ceiling. we are supposed to see a week of debate on this issue and then we killed and take into custody the body of osama bin laden. what do nature of the capture -- what to make of the capture and kill? what do you make of the debate in washington this week?
>> they will get back to that debate regardless of what is going on in the world. once you turn something over to leon panetta. when i heard the president appointed him to the cia, i knew what he would do. he would take charge. and as the president said last night, which i thought was very impressive, he said i turned it over to leon panetta and we spoke last august and the tip came up. since august, leon and the president and this fine group of military people and special forces put together what must've been an awesome assaults. no casualties on our side. they must put a lot of guys away. those are the guys that can do more people in at night than you or i have ever met. tavis: you said you thought the president did a fine job last night. what he suggested -- said that justice had been done last night. is that how you see this?
has justice been done? >> you hate to be joyful that somebody has been killed, but there is evil in and the world. anybody who tells you there is no evil has missed life. here is a guy, a tough, mean cookie who kills not only our people but his own. savage, savage man, sadistic, satanic kind of a guy and he is gone. i am tickled to death he is gone. and it is going to send a real signal through the world which is very simple. you mess with us and we will get you. it reminds me of those old movies we used to go to. old hoppy or roy rodgers, that will teach him to mess around with those guys t. tavis: when i consider the news of osama bin laden being dead, i think the thousands of americans that have been lost in his pursuit. i think of the untold billions
we have spent. it took us 10 years to do it, passed that mission accomplished banner on the freighter. and then i think of the fact that at the time we catch him, he is no longer running a al qaeda like he was. i ask all of that said, was it worth it? >> company i wasi in the infantry in germany in peacetime. we lost hundreds of people in jeep accident, helicopter accidents. e -- if you are military, you are subject to death. this has been a tough 10 years, but we are not at the point where we have almost even up how many he killed of innocence and how many of our people were lost in the fight to get rid of this guy. you cannot equate it with was it worth it? the guy is gone. the head of the snake is cut off. we bumped off a lot of his underlings.
it is going to make a difference. if everything we do is equated with one -- won or loss, we would never get anywhere. was it worth it? he is gone. i think it was worth it. was it worth it to those that many human beings? tough. that is a terrible, hideous thing, but it is over and it will change things. and i think that is worth it . tavis:ow long do think it will be before al qaeda responds? to remind those around the globe that they are not dead. >> we do not know. but we had better be on red alert. we will see what is left of this ragtag outfit. and then you have to remember the taliban, al qaeda -- they hate us. this is are really sincere step of, you mess around with america and it may take us 10 years, but we will dig in to your hole or
mansion, and we will get you prepa. tavis: will get to the deficit now. senator simpson, what do you make of the debate so far? in your words, describe how you view the debate . >> i have a bias and that is that my wonderful cochair and i, erskine bowles, 18 great americans, six appointed bypres, put together a package that was voted on by 60% of the 18 of us. five democrats, five republicans, one independent. 60% will get you anywhere in washington. then you have the gang of six. when the president finished his remarks, pray for the gang of six. three democrats, to republicans. i can tell you this. the president's plan is a good shot.
does not get there, because you not do anything -- do not do anything for social security. we are not out to cut social security. we want to make the thing is solvent for 75 years. unless you want to leave it alone, with all of the passions from aarp -- do not touch it. do not put your hand on that button, the third real. when you walk up to get your checked in 2037, it will be 22% less. how brilliant is that? you have got to do something with defense. there is stuff that has nothing to do with the credibility or protection of the u.s. paul ryan, a powerful statement -- because he is a digging in to where the big bucks are. you have to do something with medicare, medicaid, defense, and social security. the president and paul ryan
could not get them all. this commission got them all. the gang of six will come somewhere in the middle between the president and ryan. unless you deal with all of it, in a year, the guys are going to say, hey, we thought you guys had the guts to do something. we want some money for our paper. the bond markets will kick and hang on. a guy gets hurt the most. who is it? the little guy that everybody is talking about. tavis: when you talk about social security, what are american people to believe? in this debate, you can get any number you want to find from any source because there is so many taxes being ground on this issue. i am not sure i know, as informed as i think i am about these issues, hosting the show, that i know what to believe. you get so ny different numbers on the solvency into the
future of ssi. >> you do not want to listen to aarp. they said there would help us, and they never moved a muscle. they have not done a thing. they will juiceu up their members. there is not a single person that will tell you anything different than this. this social security, if you do not do anything, will pay out 22% less in 2037. even people who hate you or are trying to create you on social security. our plan says, we give the lowest 20% 125% akaka of poverty. take care of the guy that cannot work anymore. he cannot retire at 68. change the cost of living allowance. the top guys a little more than you hit the lower guys. for god's sake, if he cannot raise the retirement age to 68, but the years205 2050, then do't
knock on my box and tell me how it went. we used actuaries. we did not use cbo or omb. stick with the actuary . tavis: i hear the punch you delivered to the chin of the aarp. for those that watch this program right now, they regard aarp as the organization with the most integrity on representing the concerns of senior citizens. but you are saying do not listen to them? >> that is exactly what i am saying. when somebody tells you they are the voice of integrity. do not forget, they did the pharmacy bill. works that wonderful? sure they were. the run the biggest pharmacy in the world. i have been dealing with them for 25 years. their magazine is a dazzler. they are 1.5% of any special mailing under special subsidize permits. sex over 50, 60, 70, 80.
great stuff. they are a marketing agency. read their damn magazine. is there anything good about the good of america? no. it is how to get this, how to cover insurance. let's sober up.cut as everybody is terrified of aarp and grover norquist of the taxpayers, tax reform guy, you'll never get anywhere. the guys to get hurt the worst are the little guys. tavis: about the notions of their having to be a connection, as many in gop are due to come up between deficit-reduction and raising the debt sc eiling? is that a quid pro quo? >> it is not to me. it is to them. i came here to cut the
government, a lot of these guys said. spending cuts alone will not get there. and tax increases will not get you there. anybody with half the board on their shoulders can tell you this. and that is why the gang of six is so important. they are going to say, you're going to have to do a little of everything. if he cannot do that, then, as i say, we are not greece or ireland or spain, but we are a global society, and a global unification, and everything we do is dependent upon the world. the money is fungible. everything. and i am just saying, do not do anything -- do not do a thing. just a freeze in place. these new guys say, i will not vote to extend the debt limit until you cut spending. if they say, what you want? if they say, waste, fraud, abuse, earmarks, foreign aid, and as to'policys air craft--
will getaircraft, that you at 6%. if people cannot grasp that, then jefferson was wrong. he said, give me newspapers without a government or government without newspapers, but what he also said, but they must be able to receive them and they must be able to read them. if the biggest magazines in america are "people," and "us," hang on tight, pull up your socks for blocks. tavis: i wonder if you are hopeful that anything we talked about, whenever the plan ends up being, is there going to be a plan? will anything get done, now that we have started to move into the reelection campaign season? >> i think it is unfortunate the president has announced his reelection before he got the debt limit out of the way. everything he does know is tainted. but i am very optimistic, because i tell you. i was there for 18 years. i was there. i talked the same way now as i
did then. you have got to do something with aarp. to do something with veterans. have to do something with defense. it does not have anything to do with being nasty or anti-old people. it has to do with common sense. and if he cannot do that, then, as i said, the politician will always respond, but they only move when they react. they have to respond. they have to react. and only when the crush is on do they then come to something sensible. and the crash is not there yet. people said, nothing has happened so far. why is that? because the stock market is up. the guys who make money are making money. everything is roses. that is not the way it is going to be when they say, give me some money for my paper. we are tired of you. 40 cents of every book we spend is barred. if you're at the kitchen table and you are spending $1 and borrower 40 cents, you've got to be stupid.
that is where we are. tavis: he is the co-chair of the president's deficit commission. former senator out of wyoming, republican alan simpson. thank you for your time. thanks for sharing your insights. >> thank you. it was a great pleasure and an honor. tavis: up next, more on the death of osama bin laden with jeremy skayhill of "the nation." stay with us. for more on the debt of osama bin laden i am joined in new york by the national security correspondent for "the nation." thanks for you time, sir. let me start with the obvious. what do you make first and foremost of the news of bin laden being dead? >> in a way, this is a very somber occasion because of the tremendous number of people that have died over the last decade. not only the 3000 people we lost
on 9/11, but the hundreds of thousands of people that have diedin iraq and afghanistan. in iraq, people who have nothing to do with al qaeda or or osama bin laden. i have a heavy heart. i think a lot of americans are justified in feeling relief that osama bin laden is no longer rtt h.pla thi the celebration should be confronted with a deep sense of sorrow of all that has a loss over the past 10 years. tas:ou y you have your stomach turned by all of the cheering outside the white house? >> quite frankly, is idiotic to treat these kinds of international events like sporting events. like it is the world cup we are cheering for here. i think it is insulting to those who have lost loved ones inthese wars and who lost loved ones on 9/11, to trivialize it. if that is what moves people, then i guess that is fine for them. but i think a lot of people who
lost loved ones on 9/11, those i have talked to, are not jumping up and down. they feel a sense of sorrow, but they also feel a sense that at least they could have some sense of closure to the idea that osama bin laden has been brought to some form of justice. i do not cosign those kinds of actions. is not a proper. it sends the world to the wrong message. i think that president obama treated this as a law enforcement operation to try to bring a culprit to justice rather than invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. i think our response to that should be one of reflection and where we go from here. this is not over. tavis: so what does all of the cheering and jubilation we have seen it, the flag-waving, what does that say to the world? >> i think it sends a message that we are a culture that
somehow is celebrating death and target execution and have not even thought about all the losses that have come with this, particularly in iraq were up words of 1 million people have been killed. it gives an impression of bloodthirsty nest that i think is the wrong provibe to be pushing. we need to do everything we can to reach out to the muslim world. to say we have more in , and then we have the devices. this kind of chanting, u.s.a., u.s.a., send a message of blood lust. i think we need to be really careful about that. tavis: add to your list that you have started all of those lives that have been lost here and abroad, and that the billions of dollars that can spend, add to that, that we went through three presidents -- clinton did not get him, bush did not give him, obama has, but three different administrations. but tell me whether or not to your mind it was worth it. >> no.
i do not think that that more than one trillion dollars we have spent, the american laws we have lost in u.s. military intelligence personnel, the civilians that have been killed, particularly in iraq that have nothing to do with 9/11, to kill one man, i do not think it is worth it. to have this kind of serious conversation on american television, you need time to dissect that. otherwise people say, this sound bite represents what people are saying. the reality is that the war was based on lies that were waged on the name of avenging the 9/11 attacks. there were war is based on lies. the fact is that the bush administration which lost that illegal, immoral war on iraq and did not even when that war. russian and chinese oil companies swept up the oil. iran is influential mel. there were not before. there is an al qaeda presence where there was not before. inspired by the actions taken by the bush administration.
being and yorker and speaking to you from york, my response to this is that much of what happened over the past 10 years militarily should not have happened. it should have been treated like a law enforcement action from the beginning. and i think president obama is to be giving crebedake a priorio bring those responsible for it 9/11 to justice and not trying to invade countries that have nothing to do with 9/11. tavis: will bin laden become a martyr to fall as tax >> he will to some. i was recently in afghanistan, reporting from in the heart of the taliban. what i saw was a new generation of radicals and militants rising up that really do not see themselves as connected to osama bin laden or loyal to the old taliban leadership. that have become radicalized, overseeing what they pro erceive as a question that
u.s. support of israel. bombing countries like yemen and covering up. if there is a real threat we have to look at, it is the pullback that could because from our own actions and policies over the past decade. on the one hand, in waging wars against people who had nothing to do with 9/11. on the other hand, supporting dictators that were toppled in non-violent revolutions. those of the things that concern me. what is the message we send to the world and how will that impact us? what pullback will we experience? because 9/11 was a form of pullback that stems from various u.s. policies over the years, not just osama bin laden's fanaticism. tavis: do i take from your last comment that you believe that this will or will not turn the page in our dealings with afghanistan.
>> well, you know i would hope that president obama will have the wisdom to see that this is an opportunity to say, that america has won some sort of a victory against osama bin laden and al qaeda and that it is time to start substantially withdrawing u.s. troops from afghanistan. we have some indication before we came on air that senator carl levin, the chair of the senate arms services committee, is predicting there will be robust a drawdown of u.s. troops in afghanistan. that is true, i would welcome that. that would be a positive move. but having been on the ground, you need to see it to believe it. and i will believe it once we see troops start coming home. right now the policy we are pursuing seems to be one of escalation rather than the escalation. i think that is the wrong direction. tavis: what will this do to our relationship with pakistan? >> that really is the billion dollar question. the fact is that there are serious questions the pakistan is have to answer about what on
earth osama bin laden was doing living, for years, 1,000 feet away from a pakistani military installation. the idea that osama bin laden was living in a resort-type town in pakistan, home to three large military installations, indicates that he must of had some support from the pakistani government or at least elements of the pakistani government, military or intelligence. so i think that to the obama administration has really been downplaying that part of the story. instead, emphasizing that the pakistanis contributed intelligence that helped this. the fact is that relations between the u.s. and pakistan are at an all-time low right now. u.s. cia operative killed two pakistanis earlier this year. that caused an uproar. he was taking out of the country. then you have this incident were bin laden was living in plain
sight. but there will be a serious crisis that is going to unfold. general petraeus does not have a good relationship with the pakistanis . he will be taking over the cia, if he is confirmed. that is the key question moving forward. what is the dynamic going to be between the u.s. and pakistan? tavis: thank you for your work, thank you for your insights, thank you for coming on the program. that is our show for tonight. i will see you next time on pbs. until then, good night from l.a. thanks for watching. as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org tavis: to join me next time as a scientist and climate change expert tim flannery and funk music legend bootsy collins. that is next time. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading.
>> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference -- >> thank you. >> you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer, nationwide insurance is proud to join tavis in working to improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to me.nomic empowerment, onetit a . nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> be more. s.